Combustible Celluloid
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With: Krisha Fairchild, Olivia Grace Applegate, Bryan Casserly, Alex Dobrenko, Chris Doubek, Billie Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Victoria Fairchild, Atheena Frizzell, Augustine Frizzell, Chase Joliet, Rose Nelson, Trey Edward Shults, Bill Wise
Written by: Trey Edward Shults
Directed by: Trey Edward Shults
MPAA Rating: R for language, substance abuse and some sexual content
Running Time: 83
Date: 03/18/2016

Krisha (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Thanks for the Memories

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Thanksgiving is always a good time for families in movies to come together and fall apart, but few of them are as penetrating or as vivid as Trey Edward Shults's Krisha. The title character (pronounced "KREE-sha"), played by Shults's real-life aunt, drives up, parks, forgets something in her car, can't find the house, steps in a mud puddle, and arrives on the doorstep, sweaty and out of breath. Long, silvery hair, overweight, and draped in yards of flowing curtain-like garments, she's a mess, apparently recovering from alcoholism, or worse. Even her own son is wary of her presence. It's a tour-de-force performance, needy and unhinged, and barely holding it together. Other members of Shults's family also star, as sympathetic, exasperated versions of themselves, some of them colorful characters, some of them adding to the background chaos. Especially notable is Krisha's mother (and Shult's grandmother), 92 year-old Billie Fairchild, who helps push Krisha around the bend. Shults writes and directs, based on his own short film, and films in a kind of hybrid of long-take realism and nightmarish insanity, plus merry-go-round pinwheels, and car-crash slow-motion. This is boldly independent work, with more than enough painful, searing drama to leave a mark.

(Note: This is an expanded version of a review published elsewhere.)

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